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Woman identifies Bharti as night raider

- Cops to serve notice on minister after victim says he led the group that barged into house
Somnath Bharti

New Delhi, Jan. 22: Police today said a notice would be served on Delhi law minister Somnath Bharti after one African woman identified him by his muffler as the leader of the group that barged into her south Delhi house in a midnight raid last week.

Top officers said legal action would be taken against accused persons after a probe. Questioning the silence of the Aam Aadmi Party government, they said Bharti should be sent on leave for allegedly leading the mob.

“One of the African women in her statement to us identified Bharti as the man who led a late-night raid at her house last week. Since an FIR has already been registered, we need to record Bharti’s statement as part of the probe,” a police officer said.

On Sunday, the police registered an FIR against unknown persons on an order from metropolitan magistrate Cheta Singh. He asked the cops to show the women video footage of the incident to help them identify the accused.

A case has been registered under sections 452 (house trespass after preparation of hurt, assault or wrongful restraint) 509 (word, gesture or act intended to insult the modesty of a woman), 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) and 506 (criminal intimidation).

The maximum sentence for house trespass under Section 452, a non-bailable offence, is seven years in jail plus a fine.

“The Delhi government should send Bharti on leave as one woman has identified him and accused him of leading the attack on African women,” a police officer said, referring to two colleagues who were sent on leave yesterday pending inquiry following Arvind Kejriwal’s dharna.

“Now the Delhi government should follow the same yardstick. Why are they keeping quiet when their minister is in the dock?” the officer asked.

One of the attacked African women said in her police statement: “We were attacked on Wednesday night by Indians who were led by Somnath Bharti. They made racist remarks saying we are blacks and so we should leave the country. We were harassed and were beaten up. They had long sticks and threatened to kill us one by one if we did not leave their country. We don’t know if being black is a crime.”

She also recorded her statement yesterday before a magistrate.

“Bharti’s muffler helped me identify him as he appeared on TV channels the very next day. Delhi police officers came on time and saved us from the mob,” the woman told reporters today.

In her statement before the magistrate, she said she would be able to identify the persons who had barged into her house on the intervening night of January 15-16.

The statement was recorded in camera under Section 164 of the CrPC, which is admissible in court. The statement has been handed over to the police in a sealed cover and will be opened only during the trial.

On the night of January 15, Bharti accompanied by AAP volunteers and TV camerapersons had reached Khirke Extension in Malviya Nagar, south Delhi, and conducted a raid on the houses of Nigerian and Ugandan nationals on the suspicion that they were involved in a drug trafficking and prostitution racket.

Bharti was seen covering his face in a muffler in the morning while on his way to the Delhi secretariat. “Now he is putting his muffler to good use to hide from the real aam aadmi,” said a policeman.

Bharti had defended his action saying the raid was conducted after he received information from local residents about a prostitution and drugs racket in the area.

“These women will be made prosecution witnesses in the case,” said another police officer.

Case on Kejriwal

The police today registered a case against Kejriwal and his supporters for violating prohibitory orders under Section 144 on Monday and using loudspeakers at the dharna site near Rail Bhavan.

Another case was registered against AAP supporters for obstructing policemen from discharging their duties and causing them hurt and injury by throwing stones.